There are a few weeks in July that truly are the most important weeks of my entire year. It took me a good number of years to learn how important this time truly is, but there is no question in my mind today. After our Sunday morning worship gathering on July 5th, I will take the four following Sundays away from preaching.
This time is planned out very intentionally and with significant goals marked for each week. These are the weeks that set the trajectory for the next 12 months of my life.
I want to share with you what that time will look like for me. I want to share with you some things it will include and some things it will not include. First, and most important, I spend two weeks of vacation.
The goal for one week is to spend time enjoying the incredible gift God has given me in my wife. We will spend a few days away from home and without our children. They will be missed… but we will be okay. We have been parents for over 14 years and as time passes the complication of running a home becomes as complicated as any business environment.
Many of the conversations that we have as a married couple are about the logistics of our home. We are asking how the schedule of the week is going to play out. We are figuring out who is going to drop each child off at their specific location and how many of us are going to remain there for that engagement. We are talking about maturity and discipline issues that are ever so relevant on our parenting journey. However, taking time without distraction to talk together, laugh together, and enjoy each other becomes very difficult.
The second week of the vacation has similar rationale. Our goal is to have undistracted fun as a family. All of us together, party of five, spending undistracted time together. Not only are our children’s schedules crazy at their ages but they have become accustomed to Dad leaving in the evening “for another meeting” or needing to abstain from Saturday activities “to get some work done.” There will be no meetings nor will there be any work to get done during this time. We will enjoy the great gift we have in each other.
Ah, so what about those other two weeks? Those are exhilarating and yet intensely exhausting. I have very specific goals and objectives for that time. I will map out and plan each Sunday for the next 12 months. I will have each week’s sermon passage identified along with a short description of it. I will have other special events calendared and coordinated in hopes of keeping a logical flow to the ministry calendar. I will spend significant time in ministry evaluation and writing around that evaluation. I will be asking God for vision and direction and will spend significant time writing in those areas. Prayer will saturate these days.
These two weeks are an intense wrestling match with God. I mean that in the best way. I surround myself with blank sheets of paper and I am crying out to God for direction as I fill in Sunday sermons or ministry vision, etc. It is exhilarating and intensely exhausting… and I love every minute of it.
One detail that makes each of these weeks and goals possible is a commitment to step out of the day to day details of ministry. So during these weeks I am difficult, if not impossible, to reach. I also do not calendar any meetings of any kind. I am so grateful for the staff and elders God has gathered at Crossings Community. Their great gifts and commitment to His vision at CCC give me the peace and confidence to be able to invest this time in my first pastoral responsibility, my family, as well as the shepherding of His church.
There are so many prayer needs that are evident in these words. I believe God works amidst our prayer. I invite you to pray with me, for me, and for His church over these coming weeks…